Christian Folklore, Islamic Folklore, Muslim Folklore, Writing prompt

Mythological Creature; Al Rakim- ‘Dog,’ of the seven miraculous sleepers of Ephesus

Photo Credit: Katie Chao – Theodosius II arrives at Ephesus

According to Britannica.com, the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus were the heroes of a famous legend. The legend affirmed the resurrection of the dead. This had a lasting influence in all of Christendom and in Islam during the Middle Ages. According to the story, during the persecution of Christians (250 ce) under the Roman emperor Decius, seven (eight in some versions) Christian soldiers were concealed near their native city of Ephesus in a cave to which the entry was later sealed. There was also a dog with them named Al Rakim found in the Islamic stories.

In the cave, having protected themselves from being forced to do pagan sacrifices, they fell into a miraculous sleep. During the reign of the Eastern Roman emperor Theodosius II, the cave was reopened, and the Sleepers awoke after 300 years.

The emperor was moved by their experience and by their witness to the Christian doctrine. Specifically the supposed proof of the resurrection. Having lived to explain the profound meaning of their experience, the Seven died, whereupon Theodosius ordered their remains to be richly enshrined. He then absolved all of the bishops who had been persecuted for believing in the Resurrection previously. 🙂

Meaning of The name Al Rakim

According to seven reflections, the name Rakim means great things. It means, to start with…”a law unto itself.”

The tendency of someone named Rakim is to finish whatever they start. Rakim also is tolerant and likes to help humanity in general.

People with the name Rakim are very active. They are generally warmhearted and give freely of their time, energy, and have sympathetic understanding of others. They have tolerance and acceptance of the frailties of others, as well. They are universal and humanitarian in their outlook on life. This is a very compassionate name. Rakim’s are bold, independent, inquisitive and apparently interested in research. They know what they want…and why they want it, too.

Ephesus

The dog Al Rakim was along for the journey and served along with it’s human counterparts as “proof,” of the plausibility of the resurrection of Christ. Incredible. Another example of man’s best friend.

I am not particularly religious, but I have been to Ephesus in Turkey. There is a feeling there. One that moved me. In addition to the antiquity of the place, Paul’s letter to the Ephesians repeated itself in my ear, over and over as we wound up the hill, on the tour bus to the ruins. It was beautiful and immense. The ancient pillars standing at the entrance were reminders of the importance of the ancient city.

The cave pictured, is the cave where the sleepers lived for 300 years. It is an amazing story and sounds like the plot to some of the amazing fantasy stories my fellow writers pen in the #writingcommunity. This story however, is the bedrock…at least for Christianity of resurrection. If Jesus, himself weren’t enough, I suppose. This leads me to the writing prompt.

Writing Prompt

You are one of the seven sleepers. Al Rakim is YOUR dog…and he escapes. This islamic and biblical story is based on faith, mysticism and divine magic…so it’s plausible to assume that the same grace that allowed the seven to sleep for 300 years and to wake up from their slumber, also allowed Al Rakim to slip between the walls.

So now your slumber has been disturbed. Reminding you that you are stuck in a cave. You are a refugee. Do you leave the cave to look for Al Rakim? You notice that he comes back each night and because of your dogs behavior, you assume he has found a suitor whom he leaves to spend time with each evening. How has no one found the sleepers…following Al Rakim back to the cave at night? Is he under a divine shield of protection? Would that shield extend to you?

You dream of the opportunity to leave the cave despite the dangers that await you outside. Perhaps Rakim’s suitor has an owner who is young and fair?

It is lonely in the cave. You decide to write, to get your feelings out….to not feel trapped. Not in your body nor in the cave.

Each night Al Rakim brings new hope to you and your cave mates.

You are unaware that you will be immortalized as one of the seven sleepers, when this whole thing is over. Do we ever really know the legacy that we will leave behind when we die? Of course not… not usually, but, perhaps the seven sleepers were privy to some kind of divine insight to their legacy.

What’s your legacy?

And lastly.….dogs are LOVE….do you have one that brings hope and love into your life when times are tough?? Please comment below…and as usual…happy writing!

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8 thoughts on “Mythological Creature; Al Rakim- ‘Dog,’ of the seven miraculous sleepers of Ephesus”

  1. Interesting post and information
    Never heard of this mythology before but the information are really well stated
    I guess my legacy would be every kind gesture I ever did it and how I made the people feel and how much I could make their lives better
    I would love to have a dog like Al Rakim but currently I guess I’m the only Rakim here 😁
    Thank you for sharing 👍

    Liked by 2 people

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